Wisdom tales: Helping the thankless

There once lived a man in a small village somewhere in Northern Gangetic Plain. Owing to his lethargic as well as careless attitude he would seldom keep any job. His family, owing to his joblessness, showed him no respect and in due time the man felt dejected and ventured deep into a forest. As if by accident he met an old yet gracious looking Yogi. The Yogi had not even a single thread of link to the world out there yet he was peaceful and happy owing to his austere meditation practices. This man thought “He deserves to be my guru!”. The yogi accepted this man to be his disciple.

Only a day had passed and this man was famished and asking for food – and just like like that the Yogi put his hands in his clay jar and gave him food of his choice! The man was pleased. Days passed and, soon, the man began to miss his family. But he couldn’t, for he wasn’t financially affluent and going back would mean letting go the delicacies offered by yogi’s jar! The yogi didn’t take long to realize that the man wasn’t able to adjust to a hermit’s way of life.

“You may go if you want to.”

“Promise me, sire, you’ll give me just one thing before I go.”

“I’m just an old hermit what possibly could I give you? Yet, you may ask for it and it shall be given.”

“Can you give me your jar as a parting gift?”

“So be it!” said the hermit without a second thought – before adding “…remember it’s very fragile and it can be broken if not handled with care. If broken it would be of no use.”

“I definitely will!”

The young man returned to his family began to enjoy many delicacies provided by the jar along with his kith and kin, who were profusely happy. They forgot about working for food and soon began attracting unnecessary attention and, then, jealousy of people. One day an enemy posing as a friend came to his home and clandestinely broke the jar. In pain, he and his relatives cried as if there was no tomorrow. Heartbroken he went back to the forest where the hermit lived – there was only a note carved on a large rock upon which the yogi would sit and meditate. It read “I was old and learned Atman in a human body. I did everything right – except for helping one thankless, greedy and undeserving person. For this mistake – I paid with hunger and, eventually, death. Helping the thankless and undeserving is verily the greatest ADHARMA (unrighteousness) of all. Hari Om!”

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